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It was years ago when an old colleague asked me what I planned for my future. Surprised by his question and knowing that he was passionate about computers I said I liked the English language. He laughed saying, “I could make a future for myself with my computer – what future could you make with your English?” That was more than 20 years ago, back in my native country.
I eventually made the decision to live in the UK and have been settled here for the past 13 years. During that time I have made a lot of English friends who visited my country for my wedding, where I acted as their interpreter. I felt important; I was their communication bridge.
It was then I realized that being fluent in English was not enough. It was difficult to process quickly in my head the English language into my native language and vice versa. Although I thought I had “good English”, that seemed not to be sufficient. I had a passion for the language and I had to find a way to improve my abilities. …read more
How do clients use our translation services in the real world?
Meet Alistair Hollington, Managing Director of Lazarus Training. This Essex-based company has a core team of 24 trainers whose focus is providing practical, hands-on safety and first aid training. In line with his background as an Army medic, Alistair’s company specialises in extreme training – offering courses to close protection details – that’s bodyguards to you and me – as well as care providers; trauma and hostile environment training alongside paediatric first aid.
Clients include small and medium businesses and large corporates, as well as what Alistair refers to simply as law enforcement agencies. (“Can’t say anything else about them,” he hints.) Lazarus Training are well known in media circles too. On-screen credits include work as consultants to the BBC’s hit programmes Top Gear (pictured below) and Trust Me, I’m a Doctor.
Over the last 18 months Alistair has extended the company’s client-base overseas, running bespoke courses in very different environments, from the Czech Republic to Lebanon by way of Sudan. We support that growth, providing translations into French, German, Czech, Arabic and Farsi.
We support Lazarus Training’s international expansion with expert translations of key training materials.
I’m Anthony Gray, Cintra Translations’ Business Development Manager.
I asked Alistair why he approached us in the first place:
Alistair: I wanted a safety net. We’re a young company and expanded abroad because a UK client asked us to train their teams in France, Germany and the Czech Republic. As we work in English, they asked us for a crib sheet of key terms they could translate and hand out to their staff as part of the training. Unfortunately, our client used random staff members to translate, and they were translating the words literally. That really wasn’t going well for us in training sessions. When I realised our image was suffering and that we needed a safety net, I looked for help from a professional translation agency.
Language stops being an issue and Lazarus can be more effective at what we do.
Anthony: How much of a difference has involving professional translators made?
Alistair: In the first few interactions we had with Cintra, you gave me confidence. And as soon as you supplied us with that first spreadsheet with all the proper terms translated, we could see that in every case the new wording was working.
We’re experts at what we do, but we don’t speak multiple languages, so we train in English. We do understand that can be an issue. For example, when we’re working with factory hands in the Czech Republic, we’re aware of the sort of reaction we’d get if we walked onto a shop floor in Essex and started giving the workers emergency resuscitation instructions in Czech!
We do have a local English-speaker working with us, but communicating can still be a challenge. The materials Cintra provide take the edge off it. The language stops being an issue and we can be more effective at what we’re doing. My client’s happier, basically.
Anthony: How do your trainers use the material we translate for you?
Alistair: Trainees get a crib sheet. And we include the English terms and their local translations in our PowerPoint presentations. (We do most of our work in the field, but there’s always a bit of classroom learning!)
Cintra also give us help with pronunciation, and that’s helping the Lazarus team learn some useful words and important medical terms in the local languages. Everyone at Lazarus has a background in the emergency services or the armed forces, so we all understand how important it is to communicate clearly in crisis situations – even when we’re just simulating emergencies.
Anthony: What are your plans for the future?
Alistair: We’re running courses in Beirut in Lebanon early in 2016, and then I’m off to Sudan. As far as the business goes, I aim to keep my clients happy and sign them up for more!